by Ron Ben Yishay
News report about Hezbollah arms smuggling prepares world for possible war.
One should carefully read the report published by reputable French daily Le Figaro Tuesday about the Hezbollah arms smuggling operation. The report includes credible information, at an unprecedented scope and detail, regarding Iran’s effort to arm and fortify the Lebanese Shiite group with active Syrian assistance.
However, the main reason why this report deserves special attention has to do with the messages inherent in it and the timing of its publication. We can assume, with great degree of certainty, that whoever provided the reputable French newspaper with sensitive intelligence information wanted to achieve several aims.
The first aim is to slam the facts in the face of international public opinion, so that the UN, the West, Arab states and the global media won’t pretend to be surprised if and when Israel undertakes powerful, destructive strikes. Such actions would target the immense rocket and missile arsenal in Lebanon, as well as the states that contributed to establishing it, that is, Lebanon and Syria.
The French report is not the first one aiming to achieve this objective. In recent months, Israeli and global media outlets published a significant number of stories accompanied by detailed aerial photographs showing Hezbollah men training in Syria on using various types of missiles. The reports also revealed that Hezbollah places these arms in the midst of civilian populations and far away from Israel’s border, to make it difficult for the IDF to target the weapons (and so that Israel would be accused of war crimes against civilians should it act.)
In order to expose the plots of Hezbollah and its patrons, IDF Northern Command Chief Gadi Eisenkott presented journalists (about three months ago) with detailed information and photos about Hezbollah’s deployment and arms depots at the southern Lebanon town of al-Khiyam. The efforts to prepare global public opinion in advance already proved themselves in the second Intifada and ahead of Operation Cast Lead as a critical component that grants Israel justification and relative freedom to act.
We can therefore assume that Israel, apparently in cooperation with France, is also behind the latest French report. France views itself as holding responsibility and special ties with Lebanon, and the information leaked by the French Defense Ministry (according to Le Figaro) constitutes a message to Lebanon and Syria in and of itself.
Syria targets fair game
The leak’s timing, right after Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon, was meant to prove that France, just like Israel, treats the Iranian president’s threats seriously and is concerned by them. The report meant to prove, using facts and figures, that as opposed to Western commentary that viewed the Iranian president’s impassioned zeal as Mideastern arrogance that is empty of substance, we are dealing with a plan of action and available means to carry it out by Hezbollah, once it receives the green light from Tehran.
Another inherent message in the report is directed at Damascus. President Bashar Assad, who constantly declares his desire for peace with Israel, would have trouble explaining how such statements are commensurate with the flames he’s been fanning by helping Hezbollah (which operates in the heart of Damascus, several kilometers away from the Syrian presidential palace and under the watchful eye of Assad’s security services.)
The message was not only meant to embarrass the Syrian president, but also to indicate to him that Hezbollah’s headquarters and training camps in Syria are, in Israel’s view, legitimate targets and that he and his regime will be responsible for any damage sustained by Syria.
Another message directed at Syria, as well as at the Lebanese government and Hezbollah, is that their acts are transparent and that Israeli and Western intelligence agencies are aware of them. This also means that Israel’s flights above Lebanon are necessary, despite the UN condemnations. These spy missions are mostly needed in order to ascertain whether the Iranians, via the Syrians, are transferring what Israel refers to as “balance-breaking weapons” into Lebanon.
Such weapons include anti-aircraft missile batteries that would limit the Israel Air Force’s maneuvers, as well as long-term Scud missiles. Should such weapons be transferred nonetheless, Israel may respond with great force.
While the above messages will not bring about the termination of Hezbollah’s rocket and missile arsenal, they serve Israel’s deterrent power and are supposed to grant it legitimacy for “disproportional” acts should such strikes be required in Lebanon, and possibly in Syria as well.
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -